Pixel Scroll 10/12/21 The Scroll It Stole Was The Scroll Of Scrolls Called The Scroll Of Neverending

(1) FIVE-STAR FRAUD. “Amazon Fake Reviews Scam Exposed in Data Breach” reports The Passive Voice.

The SafetyDetectives cybersecurity team uncovered an open ElasticSearch database exposing an organized fake reviews scam affecting Amazon.

The server contained a treasure trove of direct messages between Amazon vendors and customers willing to provide fake reviews in exchange for free products. In total, 13,124,962 of these records (or 7 GB of data) have been exposed in the breach, potentially implicating more than 200,000 people in unethical activities.

Sellers would tell prospective reviewers they bought an item from Amazon and gave them a 5-star review, the seller would refund the purchase price and let the customer keep the item. The refund was actioned through PayPal and not directly through Amazon’s platform, which made the five-star review look legitimate to Amazon moderators.

(2) MOVERS AND SHAKERS. K. W. Colyard contends these are “The Most Influential Sci-Fi Books Of All Time” in a Book Riot post. By my count it has 73 books. Notwithstanding the title, its work is more along the lines of advising people if-you-like-this-book-you’ll-like-these-other-books.

…The most influential sci-fi books of all time have shaped not just science fiction and its myriad sub-genres, but horror, fantasy, and manga, as well. Filmmakers have drawn inspiration for the stories between their covers, and real-world STEM developments have been made in their names. Without these books, for better or worse, our world would not be what it is today….

I was delighted to see this title in the list, though perhaps I shouldn’t say that too loudly since my past enthusiasm for its Hugo win so annoyed Jo Walton she wrote a whole book about the award:

DOOMSDAY BOOK BY CONNIE WILLIS (1992)

A Hugo and Nebula winner, Connie Willis’s Doomsday Book follows a time-traveling historian to 14th century Oxford, where she becomes stranded in the midst of the Black Death, thanks to a global influenza outbreak spreading in her home time. A treat for all readers, Doomsday Book will particularly tickle fans of other stories about time-traveling academics, such as Jasper Fforde’s The Eyre Affair and Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library.

(3) OFF SOCIAL MEDIA. Julie Poole, a poet and nonfiction author, has an opinion piece on Publishers Weekly: “A Writer Says Goodbye to the Twittersphere”.

…I recognized that my unwillingness to create accounts and slowly but surely amass a following could be a deal breaker for agents, editors, and publishers alike. My response is this: does anyone remember Myspace? People are already leaving Facebook in droves. While Twitter and Instagram are holding strong, Gen Z has found TikTok and Snapchat, hinting that they might be reluctant to type or read 280 characters or view images that don’t move. Or maybe Gen Z will give up social for good, having seen the sort of harm it can do.

Culture is always shifting. The market is saturated with writers who want to reach readers. I want readers, too; however, I’ve decided to put my health and well-being first. No one needs to see the paranoid stuff I’d post—about hidden cameras and tracking devices—amid a manic episode. And I don’t need to feel addicted, anxious, depressed, or numbed out by platforms that are designed to sell ads.

In the end, it’s all about the words. And the best thing I can do for my career is just write.

(4) SECOND FOUNDATION BITE OF THE APPLE. SYFY Wire has the story: “AppleTV+ renews Foundation for Season 2, Goyer celebrates more Asimov stories”.

The ambitious screen adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s award-winning classic book series has paid off at Apple TV+, with Apple revealing today that Foundation — only into its fourth week at the premium streamer — already has been renewed for a second season….

(5) METROPOLIS ON THE BLOCK. Bidding ends October 14 on The Gary Munson Collection of Horror and Fantasy Rare Books Auction at Heritage Auctions. Many nice copies and first editions of important SF/Horror/Fantasy works. Among them are three different early editions of Metropolis by Thea von Harbou, a work better remembered for its film adaptation by the author’s husband, Fritz Lang, in 1927. The auction notes say —

The film was written by von Harbou in collaboration with her husband, Fritz Lang, who also directed the movie adaptation. Indeed, the book itself was intended to be something of a treatment prior to the final screenplay and filming actually began before the book was published.

There’s a signed limited edition, a regular first edition, and a second photoplay edition, which HA all dates to 1926.

(6) RAND REPORT. Watching the latest (in 1966) episode of Star Trek, Galactic Journey’s Janice L. Newman notices a disturbing trend: “[October 12, 1966] Inside Out (Star Trek’s ‘The Enemy Within’)”.

… The episode begins with the transporter being used to ‘beam up’ one of the ubiquitous extras from a planet which, we are told, gets very cold at night. There’s some sort of malfunction with the transporter, and when Captain Kirk is beamed up next, he sways as though faint. Scotty escorts him to sick bay, leaving the transporter room empty when it activates again and beams in…another Captain Kirk?

It’s immediately apparent that something is off about the second Kirk. He rushes over to Sick Bay to demand alcohol from Doctor McCoy, yells at crewmates, and in a deeply disturbing scene, menaces and attacks Yeoman Rand. (Is it just me, or does it feel like Yeoman Rand’s only purpose aboard the ship is to be menaced and attacked? We’ve seen it happen in the past three episodes: Charlie in “Charlie X”, a random infected crewperson in “The Naked Time”, and now the captain himself.)…

(7) RUTHIE TOMPSON (1910-2021). Ruthie Tompson, named a Disney Legend in 2000, died October 10 reports the New York Times: “Ruthie Tompson Dies at 111; Breathed Animated Life Into Disney Films”.

If Snow White looked suitably snowy in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Disney’s first animated feature; if Pinocchio’s nose grew at just the right rate; if Dumbo was the correct shade of elephantine gray; all that is due in part to the largely unheralded work of Ruthie Tompson.

One of a cadre of women who in the 1930s and ’40s worked at Disney in indispensable anonymity — and one of its longest-lived members — Ms. Tompson, who died on Sunday at 111, spent four decades at the studio. Over time, she worked on nearly every one of Disney’s animated features, from “Snow White” to “The Rescuers,” released in 1977.

A Disney spokesman, Howard Green, said she died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s retirement community in Woodland Hills, Calif., where she had been a longtime resident.

Ms. Tompson joined Disney as an inker and painter. She later trained her eye on the thousands of drawings that make up an animated feature, checking them for continuity of color and line. Still later, as a member of the studio’s scene planning department, she devised exacting ways for its film cameras to bring those flat, static drawings to vivid animated life.

“She made the fantasies come real,” John Canemaker, an Oscar-winning animator and a historian of animation, said in an interview for this obituary in 2017. “The whole setup then was predigital, so everything was paper, camera, film and paint.”…

(8) MEMORY LANE.

  • 1988 – Thirty three years ago, Jane Yolen’s Sister Light, Sister Dark was first published by Tor. It was nominated for a Nebula Award.  It’s the first novel of her Great Alta Saga which is continued in White Jenna and would be concluded in The One-Armed Queen in which a character named Cat Eldridge appears as an ethnomusicologist. (I found her a century old folktale collection she wanted. It was a fair exchange. She’s now on the list of folk who get chocolate from me regularly.) The series would be nominated for a Mythopoeic Fantasy Award but that would go to Ellen Kushner’s Thomas the Rhymer that year. The Great Alta Saga is available at a very reasonable price from the usual digital suspects. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born October 12, 1904 Lester Dent. Pulp-fiction author who was best known as the creator and main author of the series of novels chronicling Doc Savage. Of the one hundred eighty-one Doc Savage novels published by Street and Smith, one hundred seventy-nine were credited to Kenneth Robeson; and all but twenty were written by Dent. Several writers of late have featured him as a character in their novels. (Died 1959.)
  • Born October 12, 1916 Lock Martin. His claim to fame was that he was one of the tallest humans that ever lived.  At seven feet and seven inches (though this was disputed by some as everything is, isn’t it?), he was also quite stocky.  He had the distinction of playing Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still. He was also in The Incredible Shrinking Man as a giant, but his scenes were deleted. (I suspect those deleted scenes for The Incredible Shrinking Man are now available given our present reality.) He shows up in Invaders from Mars as the Mutant carrying David to the Intelligence though he goes uncredited in the film. And lastly he’s a yeti in The Snow Man which he is credited for. (Died 1959.)
  • Born October 12, 1942 Daliah Lavi. She’s in Casino Royale as The Detainer, a secret agent. In the same year, she was in Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon as Madelaine. She was Purificata in The Demon, an Italian horror film.  If you’re into German popular music, you might recognize her as she was quite successful there in Seventies and Eighties. (Died 2017.)
  • Born October 12, 1956 Storm Constantine. Writer with her longest running series being the Wraeththu Universe which had at least four separate series within it, all of which are known for their themes of alternative sexuality and gender. She had also written a number of non-fiction (I think they are) works such as Sekhem Heka: A Natural Healing and Self Development System and The Grimoire of Deharan Magick: Kaimana. (Died 2021.)
  • Born October 12, 1963 David Legeno. He’s best remembered as Fenrir Greyback both of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows films. His first genre role was in Batman Begins as League of Warriors villain, and he had a role as Borch in the quite excellent Snow White and the Huntsman. Mike reported on his tragic death here. (Died 2014.)
  • Born October 12, 1965 Dan Abnett, 56. His earlier work was actually on Doctor Who Magazine, but I’ll single out his co-writing Guardians of the Galaxy #1–6 with Andy Lanning, The Authority: Rule Britannia and his Border Princes novel he did in the Torchwood universe as great looks at him as a writer. And let’s not forget his script for DC’s The New Deadwardians.
  • Born October 12, 1966 Sandra McDonald, 55. Author of some sixty genre short stories, some of which are collected in Diana Comet and Other Improbable Stories (which won a Lambda Award for LGBT SF, Fantasy and Horror Works) and Lovely Little Planet: Stories of the Apocalypse.  Outback Stars is her space opera-ish trilogy. All three of her novels are available from the usual suspects but neither of her short story collections are. 
  • Born October 12, 1968 Hugh Jackman, 53. Obviously Wolverine in the Marvel film franchise. He’s also been the lead character in Van Helsing as well as voicing him in the animated prequel Van Helsing: The London Assignment. One of his most charming roles was voicing The Easter Bunny in The Rise of The Guardians, one of my favorite films. And he played Robert Angier in Nippon 2007 Hugo-nominated The Prestige based off the World Fantasy Award winning novel written by the real Christopher Priest, not that pretender.

(10) COMICS SECTION.

  • Bizarro follows a house hunting genie.  

(11) SUPERMAN JR.’S LOVE LIFE. “The New Superman Is Officially Bisexual”Yahoo! has details.

DC’s league of queer superheroes (or queeroes, if you will) just added another character to its ranks: none other than the Man of Steel himself, Superman. Or, to be more specific, Superman Jr.

Jon Kent, the half-human, half-Kryptonian son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is the newest hero to wear the iconic “S” and take on the mantle of Superman within the sprawling continuity of DC Comics. And on November 9, in Superman: Son of Kal-El #5, he will come out as bisexual.

The story, which was written by Tom Tayler and drawn by Jon Timms, includes a scene in which an exhausted Jon opens up to his friend Jay Nakamura, leading to the two characters sharing a kiss. And the apple doesn’t appear to have fallen too far from the tree: just like his dad, Jon has developed feelings for a reporter….

This development for the newest Superman of Earth marks the latest in a series of inclusive creative decisions at DC. Last year, Kid Quick was introduced as a gender-non-conforming successor to The Flash, while Young Justice‘s next-generation Aquaman is currently an openly gay young man. Most recently, the current comic book version of Robin discovered he was attracted to men. They join a long lineage of DC characters who have become more inclusive of LGBTQ+ representation, including Batwoman, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Midnighter and The Aerie….

Comicsgate’s Jon Del Arroz was quick to throw shade on these developments in a YouTube video:

Today Superman, the strongest hero on the planet, comes out as bisexual. Oh my God it’s just super cringe and this is exactly what they do. The whole point of this exercise by Tom Taylor is to get a New York Times article, to get an IGN article, to get on the front page of whatever. What used to happen in comics in the early 2000s is they found out that via gimmicks — actually this started in the back 90s with the Death of Superman — they found out that through gimmicks of killing off major characters and all that and doing things like killing Captain America, and Civil War and all that they could get mainstream attention to their comic book. They could get a buzz in the media. And so the comic industry shifted from one of telling interesting stories one of really keeping readers engaged based on continuity, based on love of the characters, based on great heroic battles, it shifted to what gimmick can we get out so that the mainstream industry media industry picks up our stories so that we can sell a couple extra short-term books. And it really is that cynical. It really is that lame. And once that stopped working, because they overused the death of everybody — I mean at this point I think they’re doing the death of Doctor Strange, it’s like he’s going to come back next week or whatever so like who cares….

Actor Dean Cain was critical, too, but as someone who used to play Superman he got to complain on Fox: “Dean Cain Slams Superman Coming Out as Bisexual” says The Hollywood Reporter story.

Former Superman actor Dean Cain has criticized DC Comics’ decision to have the current Superman come out as bisexual.

“They said it’s a bold new direction, I say they’re bandwagoning,” the 55-year-old actor told Fox & Friends on Tuesday. “Robin just came out as bi — who’s really shocked about that one? The new Captain America is gay. My daughter in [The CW series] Supergirl, where I played the father, was gay. So I don’t think it’s bold or brave or some crazy new direction. If they had done this 20 years ago, perhaps that would be bold or brave.

“Brave would be having him fighting for the rights of gay people in Iran where they’ll throw you off a building for the offense of being gay,” Cain continued. “They’re talking about having him fight climate change and the deportation of refugees, and he’s dating a hacktivist — whatever a hactivist is. Why don’t they have him fight the injustices that created the refugees whose deportation he’s protesting? That would be brave, I’d read that. Or fighting for the rights of women to attend school and have the ability to work and live and boys not to be raped by men under the new warm and fuzzy Taliban — that would be brave. There’s real evil in this world today, real corruption and government overreach, plenty of things to fight against. Human trafficking — real and actual slavery going on. … It’d be great to tackle those issues.”

(12) SECRET SHARER. [Item by Martin Morse Wooster.] This is from a Washington Post article by Devlin Barrett and Moriah Balingit about Jonathan Toebbe, who was arrested and charged with passing on nuclear submarine secrets to a foreign power. “Jonathan and Diana Toebbe, accused spies, due in federal court Tuesday”.

…Toebbe’s Facebook page indicated that one of his favorite books is Cryptonomicon–a thick science fiction novel popular with math and computer science geeks.  One of the protagonists is Lawrence Pritchard Waterhouse, a mathematical genius and young Navy captain, whose grandson becomes a ‘crypto-hacker’ on a mission to build a ‘futuristic data haven…where encrypted data can be stored and exchanged free of oppression and scrutiny….

(13) JEOPARDY! Andrew Porter did not touch that dial! So he was tuned in when Jeopardy! contestants hit some bumps in tonight’s episode.

Final Jeopardy: category, Publishing

Answer: Last name of brothers James, John, Joseph & Fletcher, whose company published magazines with their name as well as books.

Wrong question: Who is Penguin?

Correct question: What is Harper?

In another category, “Making a short story long,” the answer was: “This sci-fi great teamed with Robert Silverberg to expand his classic 1941 short story ‘Nightfall’ into a 1990 novel.”

The contestant correctly asked, “Who is Isaac Asimov?”

(14) USER GUIDANCE REFRESHED AT A WELL-KNOWN PLATFORM. [Item by Daniel Dern.] Daily Kos updated its “Rules of the Road,” which seems (to me) a lot like what [us] fans call CoC (Code of Conduct). I have NOT read their full document, so I am not (here) endorsing, advocating, criticizing or otherwise opining on the document nor suggesting that SF cons, etc be looking for lembas-for-thought. I am (simply) noting the document, in case either of you might find it worth perusing. “Introducing the new-and-improved Rules of the Road”. Here’s an example of one of the changes:

  • The next difference in this updated version is we added a new entry, #13, to our DO list about avoiding microaggressions:

DO recognize and avoid microaggressions. Microaggressions are subtle slights, comments, gestures, and behaviors that convey implicit biases against marginalized groups and people. Microaggressive comments and behavior are often unintentional but that does not mitigate the harm to the recipient. Examples include making a comment that perpetuates stereotypes, denying or rejecting someone’s reported experience because yours is different, singling out an individual to speak on behalf of an entire marginalized group, targeting marginalized people with disproportionate criticism, and denying or minimizing the existence and extent of discriminatory beliefs, practices, and structures. Understand the detrimental impacts of microaggressive comments and behaviors and accept responsibility for taking self-corrective actions.

We have always had Rules about bigoted language, but microaggressions are actually much more common on our platform, and they are an area where we must improve. If you’re interested in reading more on this topic, please read this post on microaggressions where we first introduced this as a new entry into the Rules of the Road and gave guidelines on how to respond to them if you see them on site. 

(15) HEY ANDROIDS — THESE ARE THE ELECTRIC SHEEP YOU ARE LOOKING FOR! Another Daily Kos article touts this advance in sheepherding: “Agrovoltaics = Agriculture + Solar Photovoltaics = Win For Everyone”.

I have often heard anti-solar energy voices talk about solar installations taking farm land out of production in an attempt to create a food vs green energy conflict. Forward thinking farmers have tried mixing solar with agriculture and, happy surprise, the two go together like peanut butter and chocolate.

Farmers are trying out mixing agriculture with solar panels and the results are awesome. Sheep, like those shown above, love the nice shady spots to rest between grass grazing. The land owners love it because they don’t have to mow around the solar panels. The solar energy companies love it because it opens up huge amounts of land to potential solar production….

(16) DRESSED FOR EXCESS. Everybody is passing around Newsthump’s gag, “Blue Origin crew concerned by new uniforms ahead of Shatner space flight. You’ll get it immediately when you see the photo.

… Until now, flight suits and uniforms have been a standard blue colour, and the sudden change has left crewmembers – none of whom have a first name – questioning what the unexpected change could mean….

(17) YOUR BRIGHT PALS. In “Honest Game Trailers: Tales of Arise,” Fandom Games says this anime-derived adventure will take lonely players to a world “where you not only have actual friends but they all have glowing swords.”

[Thanks to Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster, JJ, Rob Thornton, Jumana Aumir, Bill, Daniel Dern, (via) Amanda S. Green, Jeffrey Smith, John King Tarpinian, Andrew Porter, and Michael Toman for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day @JacksonPeril.]

60 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 10/12/21 The Scroll It Stole Was The Scroll Of Scrolls Called The Scroll Of Neverending

  1. Andrew (not Werdna): Possibly, but let’s not overlook the wide range of things I could be wrong about!

  2. @Andrew (not Werdna)

    That would be wonderful, since What Makes This Book So Great had the misfortune to come out in the wrong year and got cheated out of a Hugo nomination for Best Related Work.

  3. (2) A lot of manga in there.
    (I’ve read a lot of the novels, mostly for pleasure, but some for school.)

  4. Not at all related to this Scroll, but I got from that Cat, a signed copy of You Sexy Thing in the post this morning. Started reading it immediately and it’s a quite wonderful space opera indeed.

  5. Lis Carey: Why does that sentiment remind me of the Bible verse “So, shall we then continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.”

  6. (2) These sorts of lists are usually fairly random– they’re really more ‘The SF Books wWhich Have Most influenced Me’ than anything objective–, but one does have, I think, the right to expect at least a degree of consistency and coherence. This is not always evident here. Case in point: Kolyard extols Leigh Brackett’s Shadow Over Mars, rightly I think, but concludes by saying (also rightly) that “it’s largely overlooked.” This seems a peculiar characteristic for one of the 73 most influential SF books….

    Other questions abound. Is influence, as seems reasonable, to be traced at least in part through adaptations, spin-offs, etc.? Then where is War of the Worlds, far more frequently filmed, sequelized, riffed on, and referred to than The Time Machine? (Apropos Wells, I note that Kolyard heads his discussion of current books likely to be influential “The Shape of Things to Come” with nary a nod to the phrase’s author.). Where is E.E. Smith? He may no longer be popular, but surely his influence– supposedly the topic here– is at least as great as that of, say, ‘The Thrawn Trilogy.’ And, if the point is the influence of specific books, it makes no sense to list short story collections, published well into their careers, by Asimov and Clarke; certain individual stories are doubtless highly influential, but not these books.

    It would also have been nice if Kolyard had provided some clear indication of what counts as influence and why. Doubtless I’m taking this too seriously. But if it isn’t meant to be taken seriously, why bother publishing such a list in the first place?

  7. Justin E.A. Busch: You’re right to wonder what a “largely overlooked” book is doing on a roll call of “most influential” books. I don’t know if Brackett’s novel had a knock-on effect by prompting other writers to pick up its ideas, or react against them (like Harry Harrison’s Bill, the Galactic Hero mocks Foundation).

  8. Well, the largely overlooked “Shadow Over Mars” won the 1945 Retro Hugo for Best Novel, though it is less known than the Eric John Stark stories or The Long Tomorrow.

  9. @Mike Glyer–I’m not convinced producing a book list that inspires Jo to write a book constitutes “sin,” but, hey, I’m willing to entertain the idea.

  10. 15) since “Goats ate our wires” is the title of a book by a friend of ours, choose your ruminants with care when mixing with solar power.

  11. (2) 35.
    I am not really convinced that books published in 2020 have stood the test of time enough to be on a list of the Most Influential Books of All Time.

  12. NickPheas: I am not really convinced that books published in 2020 have stood the test of time enough to be on a list of the Most Influential Books of All Time.

    Book Riot, like the The Portalist, makes its money from advertising revenue and Amazon referrer links. My experience is that the quality of their lists reflects that, so I generally don’t pay a lot of attention to their lists.

  13. If you ignore what the Book Riot list says it’s supposed to be, it’s a list of pretty good books. It leaves off equally good books, but anyone who chose books to read off this list would probably be happy.

  14. (3) “hinting that they might be reluctant to type or read 280 characters or view images that don’t move.”

    I’ve never been a fan of these kind of cheap shots at ‘kids and their technology these days’. Didn’t like it when it was aimed at me in the 80s, at millennials in the 00s, or genz today.

  15. 1) This whole thing seems weird to me. Isn’t it much cheaper to just buy totally fake reviews? I’ve heard prices like 100 reviews for $50. This must cost much more.

  16. bookworm1398: This whole thing seems weird to me. Isn’t it much cheaper to just buy totally fake reviews? I’ve heard prices like 100 reviews for $50. This must cost much more.

    The difference is that this sort of review comes with a “Verified Purchase” tag. Reviews for things which people have actually bought are weighted more heavily as “reliable” in Amazon’s system, and in the minds of people who read Amazon reviews, than reviews which aren’t (for example, most of my reviews, albeit absolutely genuine, don’t come with that tag because I got the book through my library).

    And Amazon’s fraud-detection algorithms are mostly aimed at non-Verified Purchase reviews, because they’re so much easier to post than going through the whole “buy the item yourself and get reimbursed later for your review” rigamarole.

  17. 11: Wait a second.

    Superman had a kid!?

    But that must mean (absent artificial means) that Superman had sex!

    OMG. George Reeves had television sex with Noel Neill (it couldn’t have been Phyllis Coates as she was in season 1 of the TV show and we’d have heard about or seen a baby Superman by season 2…on the other hand that was the fifties so maybe they kept that under wraps?).

    Regardless. Superman had sex?!? Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!

  18. @ Steve Davidson. You don’t know what method Superman’s species uses to reproduce. Sex might have been avoided.

  19. 3) I flat-out refuse to have a Writing Twitter– I have Dreamwidth and that is the extent of the Kit Harding social media. Given my general subject matter it’s highly likely Twitter will eventually come for me, and I don’t want to be on Twitter when it happens. Is that probably going to make my life harder when I eventually get a novel finished and go looking for an agent? Yes. But it’s not worth the potential pain.

  20. (11) I’ll be honest, Dean Cain and JDA are probably the two people whose take on this development I am least interested in. I wish that more of this part of the scroll had been dedicated to literally any other takes.

  21. 2) My count was 15. But a lot of the older stuff has been turned into movies that I’ve seen…that counts right? Right? And a bunch more are on my TBR pile! Anyone?

    Erm….ackward.

    More seriously, I agree that anything published in 2020 (or 2021) hasn’t really faced the test of time. I’d push that back to roughly 2000 or so. I only see one serious piece (maybe two) on the list that was written after 2000 that I’d consider putting on a “most influential” list. There were a few post-2000 that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, but just don’t feel that they measure up to being “most influential”. There were also a couple post-2000 that I found to be face-palmingly bad.

    11) Dean Cain made a good point. Superman could have addressed any number of serious issues and been truly cutting edge.

    Regards,
    Dann
    “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.” – Frank Zappa

  22. (2) It does separate the main list (where I got 24) from an auxiliary “The Shape of Things to Come” list (where I got 6). I think the latest date on the main list was 2016, which is still kind of late for a Most Influential list.

  23. Meredith moment: four of Alasdair Reynolds Revelation Space novels ( Revelation Space, Absolution Gap, Redemption Ark and Chasm City are available from the usual suspects fro two dollars and ninety nine cents each.

  24. The knee-jerk outrage brigade is so greedy. DC can produce an infinite supply of Supermen on infinite Earths. There can’t even be a single one who is gay or bisexual?

  25. @ Dann665

    Dean Cain made a good point. Superman could have addressed any number of serious issues and been truly cutting edge.

    I daresay that LGBTQ+ issues are cutting edge. What do you mean by “serious cutting edge” issues, Dann?

  26. This is just another version of “the character shouldn’t be gay or trans unless that has relevance to the story,” isn’t it? 🙄

    If you think DC’s Superman should be addressing other important issues, that’s fine, ask them to do so. But that should be in addition to having him be bisexual, not instead of it.

  27. @Rob Thornton

    I disagree that LGTBQetc issues are “cutting edge” in the US. They matter/are important. But discussing them isn’t new. Nor is introducing an LGTBQetc character revolutionary in an age where you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some iteration of a comic book hero that is either switch-hitting or batting from the other side of the plate.

    If they wanted to be truly transgressive, they could follow some story arcs coupled with the recent fall of Afghanistan and the rise of theocracies in the Middle East.

    about women being returned to third-class status (no education, enforced clothing “fashion”, etc.)
    about boys being raped by the Taliban, ISIS, etc.
    about gays being hung from bridges in Iran for the crime of being gay.
    women being sentenced to prison in Iran for the crime of becoming pregnant as a consequence of being raped

    Some other transgressive stories could include:

    the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghurs.
    the CCP’s use of social media as a means of controlling the Chinese people.
    the brave people of Taiwan standing up for their freedoms against repeated threats from the CCP (Superman used to care about freedom)
    the CCP in general is fodder for a lot of stories
    North Korea….just about everything there.
    how coyotes use the wave of illegal immigrants as cover to important children and women to the US for trafficking purposes
    Russian manipulation of media and natural resources to decouple western interest in the nations that it hopes to dominate

    Of course, many of those potential storylines come with risks. The CCP could pull the plug on other DC products being sold/presented in China. And some of those radicals might decide that Charlie Hebdo was just a starting point. The only thing they risk with the new direction is losing readers. Kind of tame by comparison.

    I haven’t followed Superman in decades, so they aren’t losing anything from me by going in this new direction. If it makes DC money, then more power to them. But I’m not going to call that direction “new” or “edgy”. Just the last in a growing list of titles that have gone down that road in some way.

    Separately, The Liar of the Red Valley somehow got my attention a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been absolutely devouring it. Walter Goodwater is channeling a serious Stephen King vibe – in all the best ways! The hook is that the Red Valley, California is protected by an unseen King that has some ill-defined (thus far) powers. One of those powers created the Liar; an unbroken string of mothers passing on their powers to their daughters. People come to the Liar to write their lies down in a book. That and a bit of blood on the page and their lies become the perceived truth. Sadie’s mother has died, passing on the position of Liar to her daughter. Sadie knows nothing about the job or how it’s done. And now it seems like everyone wants to read what’s in those old books. That’s just the tip of the weirdness that has gone on in the first 1/4 of the book. I find it riveting.

    Regards,
    Dann
    What “multiculturalism” boils down to is that you can praise any culture in the world except Western culture—and you cannot blame any culture in the world except Western culture. – Thomas Sowell

  28. @steve davidson, Re: Superman sex — look for Larry Niven’s essay “Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex”. I think it’s in the Inconstant Moon collection, if memory serves….

  29. @Dann665–If LGBTQ characters are no big deal anymore, why does each new one on the comics provoke so many, I suppose you would object to “objections,” but certainly suggestions that they should have done something else instead?

    If it’s not transgressive anymore, why does it need so much commentary on it by people who assure us they don’t see it as transgressive?

  30. 2) 43/73.

    Aside from Niven’s speculations about Superman’s sex life, there was also one in verse, dating from 1942 but only discovered and published this year — by Vladimir Nabokov(!)

  31. If you are going to look for a bootleg copy of “Man of Steel, Women of Kleenex” online (which isn’t hard to find), the one to look for would be the version than ran in Penthouse Comix that has illustrations by Superman artist Curt Swan.

  32. And as has already been asked, why exactly is it “either-or”? Why can’t a gay Superman be out and about protecting kids of all genders from being raped in the Middle East (Or in North America; Afghanistan’s collapse is painful and dramatic but it’s not like we don’t have sexual violence right here.)

    For that matter, why do these supposedly more transgressive stories always seem to point to conveniently foreign brown people as the worst of the worst? Why not write a transgressive story about North American corporations degrading environmental or workplace safety regulations to the point where they’re injuring or killing workers?

    And why can none of them apparently happen if the current Superman is also a bisexual?

  33. @Lenora Rose

    Why not write a transgressive story about North American corporations degrading environmental or workplace safety regulations to the point where they’re injuring or killing workers?

    It’s been done at least once.

  34. The calls from the right for superheroes to tackle real-world political issues are insincere. The second a Marvel or DC comic story appears to favor a political viewpoint to the left of Mitch McConnell they’ll have a psychobilly freakout.

  35. Mark Evanier has a good take on the bisexual Superman. (TL;DR — Superhero comics are a poor medium to explore the Human Condition, because they aren’t about Humans. Dead heroes don’t stay dead; characters don’t have consistent character traits, because every new writer puts his own stamp on it; etc.)

  36. @bill–

    Mark Evanier has a good take on the bisexual Superman. (TL;DR — Superhero comics are a poor medium to explore the Human Condition, because they aren’t about Humans. Dead heroes don’t stay dead; characters don’t have consistent character traits, because every new writer puts his own stamp on it; etc.)

    And there it is, exactly as rcade said in the previous comment–always a reason why, whatever way comics address viewpoints the right doesn’t like, it’s wrong, and can’t ever be correct or good or useful, and certainly not entertaining. It will always be found to be Not What They Should Have Done.

    Complete hypocrisy.

  37. I’m a big Mark Evanier fan who is currently reading his excellently zany Groo Meets Tarzan mini-series with Sergio Aragones.

    But I disagree wholeheartedly that superhero comics are a poor place to explore the human condition. It’s like saying that fantasy’s a poor medium for the human condition when it’s about dwarves and elves. Fiction can be far removed from mundane reality and still illustrate an aspect of humanity. You don’t have to be bitten by a radioactive spider find things in common with Peter Parker.

    Superheroes do have stories about their sex lives and Jon Kent’s bisexuality provides an opportunity to tell new ones. Also, superhero comics create cultural icons, so it’s nice to have a new one for LGBTQ readers with the most famous name of all.

  38. Bill: So according to you, it was done once. BEFORE I WAS BORN. This would mean, to you, that doing it in 2021 wouldn’t be at all transgressive?

    So one more bisexual character is “Too many” because there are “lots” and they’re “everywhere”*, but one of the suggested alternatives is now done too often because it was done once in 50 years? This rather casts into doubt the general definitions being used for what constitutes an excess frequency.

    there are probably still fewer of them among comic book superheroes than among the general population, but NVM.

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